The past year with my little girls has been a little rough. Between having a new baby in the house and three older brothers whose lessons I cannot neglect, I am afraid that I let my girls down a bit. I have not managed to spend as much one on one (or one on two) time with them as I would like. I have honestly found it difficult just to accomplish the bare minimum with the older boys. So now I am in the process of revamping our days so that I am once again putting my youngest children first on the “schedule” each day rather than trying to finish up lessons with the boys first thing. The boys spend the morning working on their chores, the lessons they can do on their own, and playing. Silas is either with me or with his brothers.
I needed something that would help me with some loose structure and ideas for Beatrix and Larkspur and I think I have found it in a sweet little program called Twenty Six Letters to Heaven. I typically politely decline to review books or curricula here, but when Sarah, the author of this program, wrote me asking if I would be interested in taking a look at it, I felt like she might actually really be filling a need for us. This Catholic curriculum is geared toward preschoolers in a traditional letter each week format, but it is easy to include older children as well, and that is how I am using it. I have honestly never followed a letter each week program before. I guess I have always found myself wanting to do my own thing, and felt too limited by curricula of any sort for younger children. Now that I am homeschooling with such a wide range of ages though, I find that my spontaneity and creativity skips out on me in the face of all the good, the bad, and the busy that make up our days. I am easily overwhelmed by homeschooling materials, but this program is so simple to carry out that I am not intimidated by it at all. I spent about twenty minutes looking over it before I knew I could do it.
This week we began with letter “A.” Following along with Twenty Six Letters, the girls and I have focused on a virtue (amiability,) a simple verse from scripture for memorization that enforces that virtue, and we’ve talked about St. Anne. We have read books selected from the booklist (there is a list for each letter of the alphabet,) colored coloring pages of St. Anne and other “A” themed pictures that I found online. We’ve also done a few simple crafts both from the book and our own ideas. Simple construction paper ants were created along with angels from wool roving. Included in the lesson plans for each week are math or science activities and recipes alongside the arts and crafts ideas. I intend to plan a couple of things for each of four days per week. While Larkspur is beyond learning her letters, she still enjoys playing along with Beatrix and I. I do additional work with her in the areas of math, handwriting, and phonics but love that she and Bea can work together learning about virtues, the saints, and memorizing scripture.
My girls are loving the simple format we have followed each morning this week. I am finding that they play together far more happily during the afternoon after they have had me to themselves all morning. This is allowing me to spend Silas’ afternoon naptime working with my older boys. I pray that this system continues to work for us!
If you are interested in winning a copy of Twenty Six Letters to Heaven, just mention so in your comment and I will randomly choose a winner on Monday.
The winner is Katie: “I would love to look at 26 Letters to Heaven for my little girls! I too, have avoided a lot of curriculum for the littles, but would enjoy trying something a little more structured. Your girls are adorable!”